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World champion Russia into final of women's handball
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08:44, August 22, 2008

Highly favored Russia muscled out Hungary 22-20 in the semifinal of Beijing Olympic women's handball event on Thursday, to meet Norway in the final.

Three times world champ Russian got off to strong start with a 5-2 surge nine minutes into the game, ignited by right back Irina Bliznova's three goals. The Russians further extended their lead midway through the first half with five unanswered goals.

Trailing 9-14 before the break, Hungary, fifth placer at Athens Games, mounted a fierce fightback and managed to freeze the opponent's top scorer Bliznova, who soared with six goals in the first half while only added one in the second.

Left back Timea Toth snatched four goals for Hungary after the interval but center back Irina Poltoratskaya scored twice for Russia in the final five minutes to seal the team's first-ever Olympic final ticket.

"We have already tried our best, but we still made some mistakes during the game. Russia did quite well in their defence, and their goalkeepers made a lot of impressive saves. They deserve the victory,"said Hungarian coach Janos Hajdu, whose squad has already suffered a defeat to Russia in the round-robin stage.

"This is the first time for a Russian Women's Handball team to make it to the final at the Olympics. We never imagined that we could make it here. We feel very happy and lucky," said Russian goalie Inna Suslina, who blocked 16 shot out of 33 shots to dismay the opponents.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 46 15 22 83
2 USA 28 34 31 93
3 Great Britain 17 11 11 39
4 Russia 16 16 19 51
5 Australia 11 13 14 38
6 Germany 11 8 12 31
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